Up the road from my house is a cosmetology school. These people study for six months in order to cut hair(*).
For a long, long time I have considered the benefits of some form of intense school for software testing, but it has ... problema.
First, I would want to attract a certain level of talent, so we would strongly prefer a bachelor's degree from students. But the talented people with four year degrees, who have a least a CS minor, have very little incentive to enroll -- after all, they can just go get a job somewhere.
For the most part, the schools expenses can be funded by recruiters fees for it's graduates; but how do the students cover living expenses for six months? If you want them to be able to get student loans, the school needs to be accredited, and you really don't get accredited for an MS degree. So you'd have to be affiliated with a university or forgo accreditation. (If it's a university, then the instructors need PhD degrees. And the intersection of qualified PhD-professor and world-class-tester is pretty much Paul Jorgensen and Cem Kaner.)
I would lean toward forgoing accreditation. While a four-year degree should be a strong plus, I don't think it would be a requirement. The whole idea is to lean toward the vocational/technical school model. Then again, hairdressers they have a state-based licensing program, which creates a training monopoly.
Anyway, it's an interesting intellectual exercise, even if nothing comes of it.
Then Mike Kelly emails me: It's being done in India right now. And I know a company that teaches testing to Russian immigrants in Silicon Valley.
But both of those are essentially a trade: The school promises to make it's students look attractive to Western Businesses. These businesses will pay an outlandish salary rate compared to what you could make back home in India or Russia, and the training seems to be relatively quick and technical, EG "How to use a specific tool.". Out of those seminal schools, could a responsible, integrity-filled US or Western-Europe based business model emerge?
I honestly don't know.
(*) - ISTQB requires about 24 hours of in-class work to certify a tester. A typical school for hairdressers requires about 1,600. Comparing and contrasting that to any popular software test certification is an exercise for the reader
Schedule and Events
March 26-29, 2012, Software Test Professionals Conference, New Orleans
July, 14-15, 2012 - Test Coach Camp, San Jose, California
July, 16-18, 2012 - Conference for the Association for Software Testing (CAST 2012), San Jose, California
August 2012+ - At Liberty; available. Contact me by email: Matt.Heusser@gmail.com